`Oh, no,’ They’re Ordering Kenny – Comedy Central and pay-per-view network In Demand – Company Business and Marketing
Soon it will be Cartman on demand.
Comedy Central and pay-per-view network In Demand have reached an agreement in principle to offer South Park as a video-on-demand product.
The deal will make the first 25 episodes of the animated series available for consumers to purchase either on a per-show or packaged basis.
The VOD market heated up last week on other fronts. Adult entertainment provider New Frontier Media’s product is now on Time Warner Cable’s VOD platform in Hawaii, while premium service providers Starz Encore and HBO explore VOD concepts.
Brad Samuels, VP-affiliate sales, Comedy Central, expects a sliding launch schedule for South Park on VOD. “The rollout should be greater in 2001 as more MSOs move to VOD-functional servers,” he said.
Samuels said Comedy Central and In Demand are still mapping rollout, pricing and packaging strategies, but the parties are contemplating themed episodes. Tentative plans call for a 81 price point per episode.
“Our expectations are realistic about buy rates and revenues. We’re not changing our five-year business plan over this,” Samuels said. “But we do feel that since we don’t have a second channel, offering VOD of South Park is a good marketing tool to help operators drive digital.”
In addition, Comedy Central and In Demand may offer foreign-language VOD of South Park in ethnic communities. “We’ve been talking to Cox (Communications Inc.) in San Diego about Hispanic versions of South Park,” Samuels said.
Dan York, SVP-programming at In Demand, said the network is talking with “a number of other programmers about a variety of content deals.” He said VOD deals could extend to library films, adult, specials and series, among other genres. “The possibilities are limitless,” he said.
For instance, Comedy Central make may animated series Dr. Katz and its stand-up comedy specials available for VOD.
New Frontier Media began testing VOD with 30 films from its Pleasure (most-edited) network with TWC’s Oceanic system in Hawaii a little more than two weeks ago. New Frontier will rotate seven new films each week, said Keely Hawk, VP-investor relations, NFM. Titles that don’t perform well will fall out of the mix, she said. Adult VOD movies will cost $5.95. The system already carries NFM’s Pleasure on analog.
Hawk said other VOD tests with TWC systems in Austin and the Tampa/St. Petersburg market could begin within the next two months.
HBO is running trade advertisements touting the introduction of HBO on Demand, a service featuring its original and theatrical programming. However, when asked if HBO had initiated any market tests of its VOD platform, a spokesman would only say that HBO was prepared to do so when MSOs were ready.
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